Ask The Pharmacist: In the pursuit of happiness, go bananas!

Suzy Cohen

Most bananas are peeled and eaten within one minute. That’s according to The Guiness Book of World Records. While not officially amazing in my opinion, the most bananas peeled and eaten in one minute is eight and was accomplished by a man named Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, a competitive eater. Because bananas have a constipating effect on your digestion, this guy was probably constipated for days, lol! 

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Bananas have a tremendous amount of medicinal applications. For one, the peel of a banana is known as a home remedy to promote wound healing from minor burns. The actual fruit could have substantial impact on several illnesses, including depression. 

Stock photo of bananas.

In 2017, the crop which sells about 145 million tons of bananas (worldwide) came under attack. A deadly fungus spread through plantations, and simultaneously, bacterial disease killed some plantations in Africa. Bananas are not doomed don’t worry, and that’s a good thing if you have depression or Parkinson’s disease which are due in part to low dopamine. 

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Dopamine is a happy brain chemical, it’s your body’s natural antidepressant. Dopamine is what makes you want to garden or golf for example, to dance, laugh and do fun hobbies. Healthy dopamine levels are critical for movement and coordination. With declining levels of dopamine, or dopamine receptor insensitivity, you could see Parkinson’s like symptoms, depression, bladder dysfunction, obesity, memory loss, sometimes attention problems and unexplained fear or anxiety spells.

So where do bananas fall into this discussion? In their small way, they contribute a chemical that helps you make dopamine! They are naturally high in an amino acid called tyrosine which is part of the dopamine chemical structure. Without tyrosine, you can’t make dopamine or thyroid hormone for that matter. Dopamine and thyroid hormone are two primary “happy” brain chemicals. So if you’re in the pursuit of happiness, go bananas!  

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In some strange banana news, a British man was driving in Taiwan and he threw his banana peel out the car window. A Taiwanese man, who saw this act of littering, followed him and confronted him at a red light. The man said, "Littering is unethical and uncivilized behavior.” While I do agree, I don’t think I would have chased someone down over a flying banana peel. 

Bananas could possibly help with diabetes due to the pectin and resistant starch. Leg cramps could be soothed by the amount of potassium and magnesium in bananas. And some research suggests anti-cancer effects. I’ve written an extensive article on the health benefits of bananas and if you’d like to read that version, sign up for my free newsletter at

In the meantime, here are some ideas to help you go bananas!

  • Add a banana to your smoothie
  • Make banana chocolate chip bread or muffins
  • Make banana chips with a dehydrator
  • Dip bananas into melted chocolate then freeze the pop
  • Make banana tea by boiling it in water, I have a recipe at my site.
  • For breakfast make banana nut collagen pancakes 

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit